Yurong Paru gets potable water for the first time

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, March 02,  2018

Over 300 households in Yurong Paru, a small community in the South Pakaraimas in Upper Takatu/Upper Essequibo (Region Nine,) are benefiting from potable water for the first time following the rehabilitation of the community’s water supply .

Chairperson GWI Board of Directors, Patricia Chase-Greene and Managing Director, GWI, Dr. Van West Charles holds ribbon as a student from the Yurong Paru Primary School cuts the ribbon to commemorate the commissioning of the rehabilitated water supply treatment surrounded by other students, residents and GWI officials.

The newly rehabilitated system was commissioned on Thursday by Managing Director of GWI, Dr. Van West-Charles in the presence of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Consultant, Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Guyana, Dr. Mariano Bonet Gorbea, Chairperson of GWI Board of Directors, Patricia Chase-Greene, Executive Director Project Implementation and Partnership Building GWI Ramchand Jailal, Toshao of Yurong Paru Rovain Francis, Ministerial Liaison at the Ministry of Communities Mark Crawford and other officials of GWI.

The project, a joint venture between GWI and PAHO/WHO, was executed to the sum of US$19,000 with the support from the Regional Democratic Council and Yurong Paru Village Council. It entailed the procurement of materials and construction of a storage facility and a timber trestle. It also covered inter-connection to the existing water supply system, repairing of leaks, improvement of the water distribution system and the installation of a water treatment system.

Since its assumption to office, the government has pledged to provide access to safe and potable drinking water to all Guyanese and has since budgeted billions in this regard.

Dr. Van West-Charles, during brief remarks, reaffirmed government’s commitment to providing all communities especially those in the hinterland with access to potable water.

This, he noted is in keeping with a larger commitment to goal six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which speaks to equitable access to quality water, and efficient use of water in the world by 2030.

The Managing Director stressed the importance of access to potable water noting that the lack of it contributes to mental distress in many communities. “Across the world it is evident that access to water helps to improve relationships and economic development. Guyana must see that in all its communities no child, woman, man, boy or girl dies because of water borne disease”, Dr. Van West-Charles posited.

He added that, “access to good water, is important for human health, agriculture and sanitation and we want to ensure that in every community we apply the goal six of the SDG and provide residents with access to potable water.”

In Region Nine alone, more than $150M is being expended to address water woes in several communities. In addition to the drilling of wells in the region, according to the Dr. Van West-Charles, the utility company, the RDC and the Ministry of Education are working closely to ensure that all schools also have access to quality water. This collaboration which is replicated across the ten administrative is necessary and plays an integral role in reducing the gap to access to potable water in the country, Dr. Van West-Charles said.

Dr. Bonet Gorbea while stressing the importance of access to quality water, urged the residents to cherish and protect their new resource for their health and wellbeing.

“We at PAHO/WHO know very well that to have a healthier population in Guyana we need better quality water, and for years we have been collaborating in this regard and other sectors as well”, Dr. Bonet Gorbea explained.

He called for interventions like these be integrated into the community’s history and sustained. He re-emphasized PAHO/WHO’s commitment to continue working with the government and people for the health and wellbeing of the people.

Meanwhile, the community’s Toshao, Rovain Francis expressed gratitude for the initiative, bemoaning the previous plight residents suffered prior to the intervention.

He said “for years now we suffered…we use to fetch water a mile away and now we have our system nearby to us providing water for the health, school…we are thankful to the partners and government for the system.”

The residents have not only gained improved access to water which is now in close proximity to their homes, but 90 percent of the community’s 340 residents have also gained first time access to treated water which has met World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. The other 10 percent pf the resident not captured under the system received jerry cans which will filter their water.

Prior to the intervention, 80 percent of the residents received water directly from an existing spring, which was at risk for contamination.

(From left)- Toshao, Yurong Paru, Rovain Francis, Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Consultant, PAHO/WHO Guyana, Dr. Mariano Bonet Gorbea, Managing Director, GWI, Dr. Van West Charles and Chairperson, GWI Board of Directors, Patricia Chase-Greene.

 

Chairperson GWI Board of Directors, Patricia Chase-Greene presented this resident with a jerry can which will enable him to have potable water.

 

Ministerial Liaison at the Ministry of Communities, Mark Crawford presents this member from the community with a token for assisting in the rehabilitation process.

 

Some residents present at the commissioning ceremony.

 

By: Ranetta La Fleur

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